Stone Temple Pilots' Future Is Looking Up With 'Down'

Hard-hitting single is rock radio's most-added track.

Stone Temple Pilots singer Scott Weiland may be sitting behind bars, but

his band's new single, "Down," is creating plenty of movement on the

airwaves.

"Down" is currently registering on Radio & Records' charts as the

most added song on rock radio and the second-most added on alternative-rock

radio last week.

"What's really striking a chord with people is that it's new Stone Temple

Pilots, which they haven't gotten in a long time," said Jim Kerr,

alternative-rock editor at Radio & Records.

While STP fans rave about the single and await the Oct. 26 release of

the band's new LP, No. 4, industry insiders are calling radio's

eager embrace of the hard-rock number a good sign for the band's fourth

album.

"People want to hear what they're putting out, especially with the press

that Scott Weiland's received, and radio is echoing that demand," Kerr

said.

Weiland is serving a yearlong jail term for violating probation

on a heroin conviction.

Only two of the 77 alternative-rock radio stations in R&R's panel

did not support "Down" last week (KTCL in Denver and WXEG in Dayton,

Ohio). Only the Foo Fighters' "Learn to Fly" ranked higher on the

alternative-rock chart of most-added songs.

The lyrically minimalistic "Down" features the band's staple hard-rock

groove and ferocious guitar riffs against Weiland's alternately sly and

scathing vocals.

" 'Down' is completely amazing, just like it was expected to be," wrote

Jessie Arslanian, webmaster of the STP fansite "Where the Birds Can't

Sing Along." "I have a feeling that No. 4 is going back to [the

band's] roots, and I can't wait."

At Tower Records on the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles, rock buyer Howard

Krumholtz said he'll keep an eye on the single's chart activity over the

next few weeks before placing orders for No. 4.

"We'll see what's happening on radio here in town," he said. Noting that

Weiland is "not going to be around to promote it," Krumholtz said he

tentatively plans on ordering fewer copies than he did of STP's most

recent album, Tiny Music ... Songs From the Vatican Gift Shop

(1996).

While Tiny Music, which featured the single "Trippin' on a Hole

in a Paper Heart" (RealAudio

excerpt), put greater emphasis on STP's pop tendencies, No.

4 marks something of a return to the hard rock that garnered the

band its early success.

With tracks such as the head-banging "Heaven and Hot Rods" and "Down,"

No. 4 leans closer to STP's 1992 debut, Core, than to their

next two albums. It still explores a variety of textures and styles,

including the glam-rocking "Sex & Violence" and the '60s-pop-styled "I

Got You."

While the latter tune includes the line "When my mind begins to wander

to the spoon, I got you," Weiland seems to refer to his drug problems

less overtly elsewhere on the disc. On "No Way Out," he sings, "I'm going

under/ I'm suffocating/ Drowning but I'm holding on/ What keeps me

breathing/ Don't have an answer. ... No way out."

Elsewhere, Weiland addresses the demise of a relationship through the

midtempo "Sour Girl" and the ballad "Atlanta."

Before regrouping last year, Stone Temple Pilots had been inactive since

early 1997, when Weiland's drug problems botched the band's plans for

touring behind Tiny Music. Weiland subsequently released his solo

debut, 12 Bar Blues (1998), while Dean and Robert DeLeo (guitar

and bass, respectively) and drummer Eric Kretz formed Talk Show.

STP burst onto the music scene in 1992 with Core, scoring a

Grammy for the single "Plush" (RealAudio

excerpt). Two years later they released Purple, which

debuted on the Billboard 200 albums chart at #1.

"The catalog of STP's albums provides a sort of rock 'n' roll encyclopedia,"

said Rik Leushuis, webmaster of the STP fansite "Below Empty." "STP have

covered every aspect of rock 'n' roll music with their albums ... and

they have adapted a unique musical style that holds it all together.

... The purpose of the new album is that it rocks. Like never

before."